The first day of field work started very early today...6am!! I joined field techs Kyle and Michael in the GLBRC plots to take LAI readings (or Leaf Area Index). They explained that the LAI would measure the amount of light above and below the canopy of each plot. They took readings at 4 different locations in each treatment of the first replication. At each location, they took a reading above and below the canopy. All data was stored in the equipment to be transferred to the computers in the lab. The data can be used later to predict photosynthetic activity in each treatment.
Picture
LAI readings in old field treatment
Picture
LAI readings in switchgrass treatment
After LAI readings were complete, I followed Kyle into some LTER plots where he was changing sticky traps. He checks the traps each week for bugs and changes them to new every other week. While there were a lot of flies and some spiders on the traps, he was mostly looking for ladybugs and their predators. Ladybugs are predators to the aphids that might damage crops beings grown. He found a 2 or 3 ladybugs per sticky trap and a few lacewings.

The poplar treatments in both GLBRC and LTER were damaged quite a bit from the major windstorm on Wednesday. This has a more significant impact on the GLBRC plots because of the smaller plots (less amount of trees on the interior that were protected) and because they are to be harvested this fall. It looks like the GLBRC crew will need to count how many were damaged and estimate the biomass lost.
Picture
Wednesday's storm caused damage to the poplar plots
Picture
Looking for ladybugs on sticky traps
The final observation for the day was a cover crop experiment for conventional and organic farming. The samples collected were greenhouse gases coming from the soil in the various treatments. This research project requires new gas samples to be taken whenever a new agricultural process is performed (tillage, fertilization, irrigation). There was a different treatment every 3 rows in the field, so there were many cylinder chambers to be closed for gas to be collected. Once the chambers were closed, gas was extracted using a syringe and pushed into a vial to be read in the lab by a gas chromatograph. Each treatment had four samples collected, 15 minutes apart. I hope to get into the lab to see what is done with the vials after they have been collected.
Picture
One of the cylinders, waiting to be closed
Picture
Taking a sample of greenhouse gasses
 



Comments are closed.